In our previous post about how to hire well, we talked about some tips on hiring the right person that can be learned from the Thirukkural. But putting together a great team is only the first step. Next you need to figure out how to manage your team in a way that is easy for you and effective in getting work done.

Again, the Thirukkural can help.

The Thirukkural is a 2000-year old classic Tamil text written by Thiruvalluvar on every aspect of life, including leadership. It is considered one of the most important texts in Tamil literature and has been admired by many influential people over the years, including Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi.

Over 40 translations of the text exist, but many are outdated and difficult to apply to modern times. That’s why we chose the easily relatable modern rendition of the text written by Kannan to use for this post.

Here are three tips on how to manage your team successfully.

Tip #1

அறிந்தாற்றிச் செய்கிற்பாற் கல்லால் வினைதான்
சிறந்தானென் றேவற்பாற் றன்று.

“Assign the task to those who know it, can plan, execute and get it done; and not to the most prominent, or likeable, person.”

– modern rendition of the Thirukkural by Kannan
Source: unDraw

If you read our previous blog post, this tip might sound familiar. Just like with hiring, when it comes to choosing which of your team members should do a task, be sure you select based on ability and not likeability or popularity.

This can be hard to do. We all want to be good to our friends, but at the end of the day, things need to get done. This is especially true in a small business where every resource (time, money, energy) counts. And despite our good intentions, the best person to get those things done may not be the best liked.

Tip #2

வினைக்குரிமை நாடிய பின்றை யவனை
அதற்குரிய னாகச் செயல்.

“After figuring out who should own a task, equip and empower him to get the task done.”

– modern rendition of the Thirukkural by Kannan
Source: unDraw

One you’ve chosen the right person for the job, the next part of your job as their manager is to make sure they have everything they need to succeed.

This could be knowledge, time, or financial resources. Whatever it is, if they don’t have it — provide it or point them in the direction where they can find it. Sometimes this process is called unblocking. A good manager’s job is to remove any roadblocks that are keeping her team from succeeding. The key is to set up the right conditions for excellent work to be created, and then to let it happen.

You don’t want to be totally hands off if its obvious your team member needs help. This could leave them feeling unsupported and lead to bad work. But, you also don’t want to micromanage. This leads us to the third tip.

Tip #3

இதனை யிதனா லிவன்முடிக்கு மென்றாய்ந்
ததனை யவன்கண் விடல்.

“This task – he can do, using these resources : once you reason it out thus, leave the task to him.”

– modern rendition of the Thirukkural by Kannan
Source: unDraw

Don’t micromanage. You hired this person for a reason, and you chose them to do this task for a reason. Once you’ve provided them with all the necessary resources, trust that they will do a good job and leave them to it.

Micromanagement is a killer of team energy. It’s exhausting to deal with and exhausting to do. So don’t do it.

Instead, manage through context rather than control. Context is the information behind all the decisions of an organization. People who have the same responsibilities have the same context. So context isn’t based on individuals, it’s based on function. The stronger context you create for your team, the less control you need to exert to get things done.

Feeling better about team management?

Source: unDraw

Management is a skill, so it takes knowledge and practice to get things right. These ancient, time-tested tips will start you on the right path for both you and your business to succeed.

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